T Nation

Full Range of Motion Necessary?


#1

I always see in training articles that you should "always" perform your lifts using full range of motion. Then I go lift at my gym and watch my poundage stall while men bigger than I am don't always use full ROM.

I'm wondering if full ROM can be overlooked in the interest of lifting more weight? I'm not saying that people can get away with doing quarter squats. I'm thinking more like seated cable rows.

If I up the weight and I'm only able to get the bar attachment 1 inch away from my chest when I was able to touch the bar to my chest using 50 pounds less, would I be a bad person? It would be better than only being able to do a half cable row??


#2

I think you answered your own question. The bigger guys do it right?

Dont sweat it. Just dont risk injury by going too heavy. Always lift under control and if you notice yourself getting bigger, then you must be doing something right, right?


#3

I don`t think that you can compare full ROM to part ROM. Your aim should be to do full ROM, but if you struggle in a part of a motion on an exercise you can surely stronger this part with only train in this ROM section.

It`s a thing you can build in your training plan but only with this thing i can not imagine that it will get you so strong as with the "normal" method.

But i am surely not so educated to get you the 100% right answer. Just a idea of mine :slightly_smiling:


#4

If a muscle is forced to contract under a weight, then the whole muscle will get stronger. It's pretty natural to be weaker in the lower portion of a squat for example, so why be held back and focus on full ROM because some guru said that you had to?

While I dont think you'll get much from 1/4 reps or even half reps, you still do not need full ROM to develope.


#5

For me "perfect form" is the form that gets me the best results with the least risk of injury. For almost every exercises, this means a complete ROM.

On some exercises (e.g. most types of rowing motions), your body is at a mechanical disadvantage near the lockout.

So imho it's actually beneficial for your progress to ditch the last inch or so if you can move much more weight.

Be careful not to go towards the other end of the spectrum tho, shortening the ROM more and more to "move" more weight, there are already enough smithmachine-quarter-squatters and compound-momentum-BB-curl morons out there.


#6

I see your point. Maybe it is enough to do only parts of the motion but it is perhaps also a CNS thing. When you exercise only in parts, maybe always the same parts, your CNS will build this plan in your motions. So you can lift higher weights in partial ROM but not in the whole.

I see lifting weights as a getting stronger in certain motions. I have to say that for me it is important to move, jump and react instead of building big muscles. Its sport specific.
But i think partial ROM is a good way to upgrade weak movements.

And the thing about injury what was posted before this answer is also a point.

I am noone that believe what a Guru say without testing it, but i can`t test it all.


#7

heres my two cents,

i think one should do full rom of motion. .Iif one only does a partial rep, one will only get stronger for the range of rom worked leaving other parts weaker. I know a lot of people who only do partial squats to get more of burn in the quads;

however, when you do atg, you are working a lot more than the quads and people who "try" and go deep who are use to only partial squat will have to lesson the wieght because they will not be strong in the deep squat nor will doing "partial squats" get you past a sticking point in a deep squat.

I have also seen people who only do partial bench press because they can lift more this way (the bench is sort of an ego lift for a lot people); however, if these people went through the full rom version, they would have to lesson the wieght and probably would be more prone to injury bench doing a full bench because they have only been working partial ranges which i think creates a stengh imbalance.

Personnally, i think there is a better way to get past a sticking point. Examples would be altering your rep scheme from heavy to light (or vica versa), using strips sets, or using other shocking techniques.

If you dont use full rom, to me your just not working out all of the muscle - in most cases your just working the part of the muscle that is already stronger; and not the part that is really weaker; and the weaker part is your sticking point.


#8

Thanks for the replies. Keep in mind that I wasn't asking about half-reps or even 75% reps. I was thinking more like 95% reps, 90% at the worst. I meant if you couldn't lift something past a couple of inches under the peak position of your concentric phase, would that still be considered failure?

Some more examples other than my first post:
-pull-down bar stops going down 2 inches above the top of the chest (I'm aware that pull-ups are better, just an example)
-the heels are one inch below their usual highest point during calf raises
-the pad doesn't touch your butt anymore during lying leg curls, but it still reaches 1-2 inches above it

I experienced that kind of failure, if it can be called failure, today and it hit me that every time that happens I end up lowering the weight so I could do full ROM. I feel like that mindset may have held me back for years just because I thought I was doing bad when I was just trying too hard to be perfect.


#9

I saw some good strength gains from incorporating partial ROM lifts but progressively increasing the ROM from session to session. Kind of pushing the envelope a bit with the heavier weights and then working on improving form from session to session.

Works on lifts like DB bench, BB bench, cable row, may not work too well for an exercise like squats since there is a sharp load transfer between muscle groups at different stages of the ROM. IF nothing else, its a good tool to force progress.


#10

I think full ROM should be your bread and butter. To get past sticking points/plateu's sure try more weight less ROM, just another tool like a drop set or superset. However, that doesn't mean that that now becomes your staple. But you definately don't need a full rom to see benefits, static holds work as well with no rom, so they definately work.


#11

If the big guys got that big by doing it, it is ridiculous to call it "wrong".

If most of the people telling me I need to do full ROM on all exercises are WAY smaller in terms of muscle mass, I will not be listening to them.

Obviously, much if this is based on what stage of training you are at. Most beginnners should be concerned with learning to do an exercise correctly...which is exactly where the confusion lies.

Anyone looking at Ronnie Coleman train and commenting that he is doing it wrong is mildly retarded.

Anyone who thinks the average 140lbs newbie should do the same is his twin brother.


#12

Think about:
Rack deadlift
Board presses
lockouts

Full ROM should be trained, but not exclusively.


#13

I got an answer for you. When i was a less experienced lifter, i read the same information. FULL ROM!!! ALWAYS! So i did. The weights i chose always allowed FULL ROM. I was muscular, but lean wih it... never any growth spurts. I plateaued in the first 2 years of lifting and could not shift no matter what.

I trained with a friend who used much higher weights than i did, i managed 2-3 reps full ROM, then the rest majority ROM, then the last 2 as partials - with a few forced thrown in.. This was on all exercises.

I ached like a motherfucker. I grew like a bastard. Lesson learnt.

I use a heavy arse weight that allows some full rom reps then that may lessen over the set, then I INCREASE THE WEIGHT AGAIN! to do some more.. always trying to reach as full an ROM as possible.

Done.

I have a question... i watched the youtube of the guy doing pullups:

and i was comparing that to my form, where i go all the way up - is that just using my arms mostly, and i can get the right stimulation on my lats from stopping when the elbows reach 90degrees? I tried it, and i can use a decent amount of extra weight... wha do ya reckon?

Joe


#14

I have learned the lesson that there is no right or wrong in Bodybuilding. There only clues to do it.
Ok, you can train wrong because your movements are nearly threaten your health but i mean that all is allowed what works and keep you healthy.

For me it is important to do the full motion because a lot of sports need this full motion.
Bodybuilder surely train in another way and you see that it works also.

So do what you think is best for you and bring you the results you want.
To the question of you, Bullpup, i think the 90% or 95% arent wrong. Its good as long as you don`t harm you :slightly_smiling:


#15

I think it has been implied, but just to put it down, while non full rom can be great i don't think anyone is advising the 1/16 depth squat that I bet all of us have seen far too many times in the gym.

The other thing that has been said but i wanted to expand on was that you said the bigger guys in your gym don't always use full rom, x said neither does ronnie. That is definately a useful clue.

Scott Abel said in one of his interviews that when he was a bodybuilder he would see people diet really hard for 8 weeks come to a show, but after they had a few cheat days after the show they actually looked better then they did at the show. He saw it on one guy thought it was a fluke, saw it happen to everyone and said, this is a phenomena, let me see if i can test it/recreate it.

Did it himself, tweaked it and created the cycle diet. I don't think you're going to be doing that, but you saw a phenomena that seems to be working, test it out and see if it works for you, it seems like a lot of anecdotal evidence is saying it might.


#16

im hoping most people know that certain lifts you have no choice but to full ROM w/o risking injury, like the deadlift. i can imagine someone just stopping at a random point and fucking their whole back up.

today is my chest/back day and im trying out half rep press either with barbell or DBs because i dont see the point in training my triceps when my intention is to train chest.

i think the movment you choose to do partial ROM on is crucial as well and you really need to be aware of whether your stimulating your TARGET muscles more with a shorter ROM or if youre working other muscles because you cant control the weight.

what the hell am i talking for? go out and try for yourself.


#17

Alot of the top pros dont use a full ROM and neither do the guys in everyones local gym who have no clue..

The difference? The pro's use the hardest part of the ROM, and the dickheads in the local fitness suite use the easiest ROM.

For example, during flat DB prsses, you will see the likes of Jay Cutler getting a deep stretch and then only pressing till a point where the elbows are still bent. This keeps the tension on the pecs and less on the triceps as we all know, plus he knows what the fuck works for him.

The twats in the gym on the other hand start from full lockout and lower to a point ABOVE the chest line! Hardly using the pecs at all.. making fuck all gains over 5 years, and getting to throw around weights they simply do not deserve to use! Hmmm..

Joe


#18

I love it when members (especially toward the top and middle of this page) seem to be making up principles of weight training.

Hey, here's an idea, if you simply must train full range of motion all the time, how about mixing in some chains or bands here and there. Best of both worlds.


#19

It is no making up principles of weight training, it is only a opinion. People have to test what works best for them and if it is a partial ROM training then okay.
But the thing is. What works best for Jay Cutler would not automatically work for person A or B.

I don`t like theses like "the Pros does, so it have to work for me too"
There are a lot of people out there with other goals and preferences, so i think it is good to have both opinions in one topic. Which way the people who read this would go is their thing :slightly_smiling:

In this spirit.....regards


#20

Who has written this? Who has implied this?